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Under 21s: Forest 0-1 Crystal Palace

15 August 2016

A late goal from Michael Philipps was enough to condemn Nottingham Forest Under 21s to a 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace at The City Ground.

Jack Lester fielded a young side with Jordan Gabriel, Anel Ahmedhodzic and Toby Edser all named in the starting line-up while Crystal Palace had a strong side including Steve Mandanda, Joe Ledley, James Tomkins and Yohan Cabaye.

Forest made a bright start to the contest and almost went ahead with five minutes on the clock. Toby Edser's clever pass found Tyler Walker in space inside the Palace half and the striker drove forward but shot wide of Mandanda's right-hand post.

Lester's men were creating the better of the chances and could have had the opening goal on 17 minutes. Anel Ahmedhodzic stepped in to cut out a Palace pass, fed Walker down the left-hand channel and he crossed for strike partner Ben Brereton who could only stab the ball wide.

Little threat had been posed by Crystal Palace in the first half but they almost took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Andre Coker broke into the penalty area on the right-hand side and unleashed a powerful strike which Tim Erlandsson did well to palm away from danger.

Forest started as brightly in the second half as they had in the first. Jason Akiotu had to put in a good block to deny James Thorne before Palace goalkeeper Mandanda made a solid save from Walker's rasping drive.

Joe Worrall was cautioned on 57 minutes for a sliding challenge on Palace winger Coker but from the resulting free-kick, former Newcastle midfielder Cabaye could only curl the ball over the crossbar.

At the other end Forest spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead. A stray pass put Brereton in behind the Palace back four, he shifted the ball right for Edser but, with only Mandanda to beat, he slotted it wide of the far post.

Walker's pace had caused the visitors problems all afternoon and he came inches away from putting Forest ahead on 69 minutes. After putting the ball round one defender, he raced into the penalty area but shot over the crossbar under pressure from Ben Wynter's challenge.

Mandanda had to be at his acrobatic best soon after to prevent Walker from finding the opening goal. The striker again sprinted past two Palace defenders and fired a shot at goal but the former Marseille goalkeeper tipped the ball over the bar.

Palace did finally make the breakthrough with 11 minutes to play. Erlandsson made an excellent close-range stop after Nya Kirby's corner caused confusion inside the Forest penalty area but Philipps was on hand to slot home the rebound.

Virgil Gomis headed wide from a corner late on but that was to be the last real action of the contest as The Reds slipped to an unfortunate defeat in their opening game of the season at The City Ground.

Forest: Erlandsson, Gabriel, Crookes, J.Worrall, Ahmedhodzic, Yates (c), Thorne (Gomis 77'), Edser (R.Worrall 65'), Brereton, Otim, Walker (Smith 85')

Subs not used: Marques, Nielsen

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